Notes on Product Management
- Product management is about idea assessment, not idea generation
- Get the marketing collateral drafted before greenlight
- You should reject ~80% of ideas at the concept phase
- Simplify the message. Turn it up to 11. Repeat until people tell you
to shut up.
- Aim for comms efficiency. 1 to many comms are better than email. I
prefer mediawiki. Put the FAQ, sales information, positioning
statement and objection handling information in a public place.
- Spend about 2 hours a week away from your desk quietly thinking
about the product.
- Build a narrative inside the company. It will exist anyway, so you
should ensure it is the right one.
- Evangelise the value proposition. Anecdotes are powerful, comments
from customers are great, video testimonials even better than text.
- When ideas are raised in the organisation (especially from above),
take them away and run through assessment. Report the results back
to the instigator.
- Apple do product management too. They do go out of the building, but
the people they talk to are under very strong NDA.
- Goal of innovator customers is not revenue, but to build references
that bring credibility to the early majority adopters. Reference
first, then revenue
- Market sizing: TAM for market. The market leader will get about 30%
of it. You are likely only targeting innovators at the moment (5% of
that). Then go and ask 30 of those customers and see what %-age
would buy the proposed feature set in next 3 months.
- In the case where you have a long term vision, still build the
business case for the short term stepping stones.
- For each of specific user persona, step through the entire first use
experience. In Apple's case this starts in the store, and includes
unwrapping it etc.
- Figure out what the MVP and perfect would look like. MVP is defined
as what the market will take. iPhone 1 was MVP (note lack of 3G, for
example). 4S was perfection.
- When prioritising things consider: Technical feasibility; Market
attractiveness; Urgency (from 'unmet demand now' to '12 months
after launch'); Financial (ROI); Strategic fit.
- In order to avoid constant demands on time, someone kept a list of
things they wanted from other people. When a request came in, it
would start a negotiation. This forces people to attribute a value
to their time.
- Customers asking for delivery dates, integration (with their
existing systems) and price are buying signals. Other responses can
be assumed to be 'not buying'.
- Write the business case that customers will use to get agreement to
buy the product.
- Perception pricing is popular in B2C market: ask people to compare
against other relevant things in the market
- Pricing in B2B tends to be around ROI/benefit/business case. If you
are having a good customer meeting, you might ask the customer what
the business case they would make to buy this thing. If they can't
draw up a business case, why would they buy? The business case will
reveal BATNA and offer indications for price.
- Ask about schedule requirements as 'are there any dates we need to
be aware of'?
- Write snippets of information down. Build them into a document.
- Cash cow businesses coalesce around certain market niches. E.g.
records are used by DJs and audiophiles.
- Keep a list of customers spoken to. 'I don't want your opinions'.
A table of responses is preferable to a narrative.
- A beta release is valuable because of feedback. You need to plan how
to get that feedback.
- Keep a group of customers on hand (under NDA if needed) to run ideas
past. It is better if they are not fanbois. They will turn into
fanbois over time, so keep refreshing them every 12 months. The
panel should include both existing and non-customers. One way of
motivating them is to put their names on your website and say that
they are experts in some way. People like being experts, and it is
even better if they know that their peers will see the recognition.
- Show your SWOT analysis to customers to validate it
- Write customer quotes for the website when planning it. When asking
them for a quote say something like \"I know you are busy, but here
is roughly what benefits I think you got from the product. To save
you time I drafted this, feel free to change it\". This will help
keep them on-message
- When writing press releases, \"Organisation \<like you> has solved
\<problem you have>\" is the best headline.
- Keep the business case document up to date during the product. Every
week look over it and incorporate any new things you've learnt.
Don't have a massive update binge ahead of review points. PMs
should be able to present business case at any time with no notice.
- Business proposal (from concept phase)
- Datasheet (draft from concept phase). It should be possible to write
it in 1 hour with 3 people.
- Be specific about the market problem, and include the market
segment. A market segment is the largest group of people who will
react in a similar way to marketing messages
- Value proposition. VPs are specific to market segments
- Marketing collateral: Include with story, and draft it before dev.
- Sales collateral
- Put all proposals on the same template
- Figure out what top 3-5 competitors are (from the PoV of the
customer, so 'by hand' is a valid competitor.) Perform SWOT
analysis on them (and your product). Evaluate companies against:
ability to conceive; produce; market and finance the product.
- Stories should include: ID; description; estimated effort; customer
- When giving presentations, record it to capture any ad-libs. Put the
recording on the intranet so people can refer to it.